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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 11:44 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2005 8:55 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Vancouver, BC
I am wondering if you could help with this. Please post your comments and concerns if you have a child in the school system who has a diagnosis of asthma and anaphylaxis, or if anything else about Emergency Plans concerns you.

It is not yet well known in the greater community that a diagnosis of anaphylaxis and asthma puts individuals at greater risk of suffering a fatal anaphylactic reaction. A significant # of the deaths we have seen in kids here in Canada have had very similar scenarios.

The kids report that they are having asthma, they are treated for their asthma, but then they collapse because they are really having anaphylaxis. Epinephrine is delayed because they are being treated for wrong thing, and they die.

I do not think the statistics are statistically significant, but there seems (to me) to be enough of these cases that we should be making sure that the schools know that this may be what a potential fatal reaction will look like.

Here is the part I need help with - do you think that on an Emergency Plan there should be a place that notes that the child has a diagnosis of asthma like a little box you can tick off, or do you think the child should have two care plans, one for asthma, one for anaphylaxis, or both, or something different?

Do you think the child's picture should be on the Emergency Plan? (this is assuming that the plan is not plastered all over the school, but is place discretely in a place where staff can see it, but not everyone). Have you ever used an Emergency Plan that doesn't have a picture?

Do you think that Emergency Plans should be formatted so that it all fits on one page, or does it matter if some information is on the front and some is on the back?

What works well in your school/district? What would you change if you could?

It would really help if you could answer these questions. If you can give examples of what you like best that would help too.. (there are samples on lots of the allergy sites and on www.allergysafecommunities.ca

Thanks in advance


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 7:43 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6476
Location: Ottawa
Our daughter has asthma and we do discuss this with the school and the teachers. My husband and I met with the new principal (number 3 this school year) to make sure she is up to date on our daughters condition and aware of the policy and procedures.
Poorly controlled asthma means the airways is already compromised and should an anaphylaxic reaction occur, it could be swifter (at least tht's how I understand it). So part of reducing the risk of a fatal reaction is to getthe asthma under control.

That being said:
Do you think that on an Emergency Plan there should be a place that notes that the child has a diagnosis of asthma like a little box you can tick off, or do you think the child should have two care plans, one for asthma, one for anaphylaxis, or both, or something different?
I think that each child should have an individual action plan. It should address all health issues and it should be written as simply and clearly as possible and all on one side of the paper.
(People react oddly in an emergency. The reason we call 911 "9-1-1" is because people have been know to cry out, "But there isn't an '11' button on the telephone.")
Our plan indicates that if you suspect food has been eaten treat as anaphylaxis first.

Do you think the child's picture should be on the Emergency Plan? (this is assuming that the plan is not plastered all over the school, but is place discretely in a place where staff can see it, but not everyone). Have you ever used an Emergency Plan that doesn't have a picture?
I struggle with this one. The right to privacy vs. keeping her safe. I have decided that it is more important that people recognise the risk and how to react than for her to have privacy over her condition.
I would like to see an action plan with her picture in each classroom (other teachers do playground duty) and in the staffroom. I would like to see teachers take a short quiz 3x yearly and have to identify which children have life threatening conditions and how to treat the conditions-heck, they test our kids don't they?
I would like to see a smaller version of the action plan accompany the child's Epi-Pen on class field trips.

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 11:24 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:52 am
Posts: 214
My doctor told me that epinephrine can have the same affect on an asthma attack as steroid inhalers (i.e. it will help the asthma attack just as much as an inhaler will). However, the inhaler is gentler on the system (topical on the lungs as opposed to system-wide) and that is why epi-pens are not routinely used to treat simple asthma. However, as they have the same treatment effect anyway, and as anaphylaxis is so serious and can progress so swiftly, he said that when in doubt, to use the epi-pen first.

_________________
Asthma and eczema
Drug allergy (succinylcholine)
Food (corn, raw apples, green beans, tree nuts, flax)
Misc (pollen, grass, mold, dogs, cats)


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 9:20 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Our youngest has two posters in a fluorescent colour:
- one is an action plan with what to do, depending on what his reaction is. My allergist thought it was better to spell things out rather than simply say "give EpiPen", so she wrote a 3-page letter with detailed instructions that we simplified to one page
- one is a "details" page with his photo, list of allergies and asthma, and contact numbers.

I have told the staff that if they are not sure if it's asthma or anaphylaxis, to treat it as anaphylaxis and give the EpiPen. I remind them again and again that the EpiPen cannot do harm if given "unnecessarily", but that if it's not given in an emergency, my child could die.

So the message is: if they are not sure, GIVE THE EPIPEN.

I would rather my child be recognized in an emergency than die, so I am okay with his photo being up in the classroom and the staff room. But he is only in grade 1. I know for older kids this could be an issue. Not an easy balance to strike between safety and privacy.

I have a system with the daycare teacher on days when my son is supposed to be given his blue asthma puffer at lunchtime (if it's really cold out or he has a cold). We have a laminated little sign that says "XAVIER: BLUE PUFFER" that is on the wall above his cubicle in the hall. If the sign is displayed, it reminds her that she is to give the puffer. If it's not (i.e. it's facing the wall), she doesn't have to. My DH and I always tell her what to do in the morning, but the sign is a reminder. We found this helpful last year when the daycare teacher kept forgetting.

K.

_________________
Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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